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It’s true that everyone brings something different to the tarot table. Ask a hundred people to read a tarot spread and you’ll have two hundred and a half opinions. Surely some of it has to do with the way a person learns tarot; some people are raised with it while others, like myself, are very new and bombarded with everyone’s different styles and techniques. However, I’ve been noticing some trends and I wanted to make it clear what my personal process is.

The card is the picture. I see a lot of tarot readers, even veterans of the field, who focus primarily on the card’s picture to inform their interpretation of the card. I have some problems with this. Firstly, every card has a traditional meaning that is then interpreted by the artist, which is then interpreted by you, the reader; and most likely the “traditional” card meaning was drawn from some artists rendering in the first place. That’s a few too many degrees of separation for me.

Plus, every deck has a different depiction of every card. Most people choose a deck that resonates with them the most to do their regular tarot readings, even if they have many decks. Going this route, though, the best thing to do would be to cherry pick individual cards and build a custom deck. I haven’t ever seen anyone do this. It could be that it has more to do with the fact that there’s no standard card size, so tarot decks can come in all shapes and sizes, but I haven’t even seen the idea suggested.

I would rather have the ability to forgo the picture altogether and accurately read a spread just by the names of the cards rather than make myself dependent on how a particular card’s picture makes me feel.

It’s all connected. In life, events rarely come about as the result of one cause. Rather, it is many smaller causes cascading together in parallel processes. You don’t “grow up” one day when you decide to become an adult; it’s a process. And since Tarot represents life, I think the best way to read a spread is that it describes the process that your question is a part of. That means that you have to interpret each card in relation to the others, as their meanings bend around each other into one cohesive whole.

It’s elementary. Some people consider elemental dignities very important. Basically, elemental dignities describe how the elemental affiliation of the card itself and the position it takes in the spread colors the interpretation of that card. I think this is pretty interesting, if not exactly necessary, so I’ll be going into it for more advanced readings as well as whenever it seems particularly intriguing or poignant.

Your fate is in the stars. You can hardly throw a stone without hitting an astrology junkie in a crowd of paranormal enthusiasts. Some people pay close attention to star signs and lunar cycles when parsing out a tarot spread. Since these forces are global in nature, I would choose to apply their meaning to the final interpretation of the whole spread, rather than to each individual card. I probably won’t bring this up much, but I will be recording the time and date of each tarot reading in case anyone wants to investigate it for themselves.

Numerology. No

Make a day of it. In some practices, especially witchcraft, the day of the week, and sometimes the time of day, are very important to the endeavor you are setting out on. For example, Thursday is associated with wealth, and so is the best day to cast a money spell. (Don’t ask me why, I don’t know.) In terms of tarot readings this is probably one of the weaker influences, but if it becomes relevant to a reading then I will be sure to bring it up.

Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate. One thing that gets pounded into your head when you start learning how to read tarot is that the emotional state of the reader and the asker are very important. A lot of people say it’s almost never a good idea to do your own readings because it’s too easy to make the cards say what you want them to say. Doing a reading to see whether you and your boyfriend will get back together? Of course you will. It’s in the cards, after all!

However, I really don’t think I’ll have a problem with this. For one, all my readings will be published (or at least 365 of them will be). If I make a bad call, there will be plenty of opportunity for people to call me out on it. For two, hindsight is 20/30. I can always go back over past readings and see if I made a mistake because I wasn’t objective enough. For three, I’m not treating the tarot as gospel. At best, the tarot will be a compass for me to point myself in the right direction. There’s no need for me to get caught up in a reading if the cards say something I don’t like.


So I hope that clears up some things. I wanted to go over this before we really get into the project, so that I can just point to this post if people ask about it. My plan is to do my first reading on Sept. 22, at 4:44, the autumn equinox. After that I will probably do my readings at night, and post about it some time before midnight (no promises).

If you have any other questions about my methods, this post is a great place to ask.


One Comment

  1. I laughed way too hard at “Numerology: no”

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